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Extended Audio Sample The Optimists Daughter Audiobook, by Eudora Welty Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,580 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eudora Welty Narrator: Eudora Welty Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9780307941435
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The Optimist’s Daughter is the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young woman who has left the South and returns, years later, to New Orleans, where her father is dying. After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. Alone in the old house, Laurel finally comes to an understanding of the past, herself, and her parents.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Beautifully written, moving but never mawkish, The Optimist’s Daughter is Eudora Welty’s greatest achievement—which is high praise indeed.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • Winner of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Teri Barrett | 2/17/2014

    " This book is terrible. Very disjointed, characters didn't make sense, their reactions were weird and not enough was explained. Must be one of those books you study in English class, although I wouldn't waste my time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 kerri | 2/13/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book.... i was in a yarn store, when the knitting ladies around a table pulled it out and started reading it outloud. So good, i really love EWelty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chloe | 2/12/2014

    " Thanks Ang it was a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vbledsoe | 2/4/2014

    " I read this book for my book club. Beautifully written. Why do I only have 3 stars? The main character irritated me. I very bad reason for being giving a book 3 stars. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ryan | 2/2/2014

    " I hate Fay and I wanted Laurel to whack her in the head with the bread board. I obviously liked this enough to finish it and I might give one more Welty novel a try, but not my favorite! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Howson | 1/18/2014

    " A beautiful little book about grief and memories. Welty is such a good writer, and every sentence is so obviously well crafted. There is so much feeling packed into this, but I was in the mood for something more gripping, so my heart wasn't in it. I'd probably revisit during a tragic time? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaclyn | 1/14/2014

    " What I love about Eudora Welty is that she writes about ordinary, flawed people with ordinary lives that some might even see as boring, and makes them very, very, very beautiful. She has the same sense of detail and of the majesty and sanctity of everyday things that I admire in some of the photography I like - fitting, since Eudora Welty often likes to capture, almost like a snapshot, the events of a few days. Her writing always seems to be cloaked in golden late-afternoon sunlight to me, even when her characters ride on sleeper trains or in taxis late at night. Who else could have me sitting on the subway with tears running down my face? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aarti | 1/13/2014

    " Vivid and sparse--an awesome combo, exquisite prose. Themes include: place/displacement, the south, city/country, women, autonomy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 1/7/2014

    " Good book. Interesting family dynamics told in an unorthodox way. Really, a tale of reflection on family, lives lived and gone, and the past staying in the past. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trina | 1/1/2014

    " This novel of a house and a family in the south is by turns funny, touching and sad. Welty's descriptions of the women and the house are so vivid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 12/27/2013

    " In the beginning, the direct style and 3D characters drew me in. I became impatient towards the middle but then at the end, the book just took flight and let go into something so beautiful. A quick read and a worthwhile read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 11/27/2013

    " An ok read, a pretty tragic story, this poor woman's life is filled with death. A contemplative look back at her life and her parents' love, all set in Mississippi and Louisiana. Welty is a great story teller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 4/22/2013

    " A minimalist work of absolute genius. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keri | 11/18/2012

    " Was reading this and loving it! What a story! My Mom borrowed it and so I'm stalled out half way through . . . just as she was getting home for the first time. Definitely want to finish it when my Mom brings it back. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linwe | 7/16/2012

    " Kind of pointless plot, but well written "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ashley | 3/29/2012

    " One of the worst books ever. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/22/2012

    " My first inroduction to Ms. Welty. Really a little abstract and disoragnized. I got the allegory ( at least how I interpreted it ) but I thought many unnecessary passages were written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 11/28/2011

    " I loved her writing style and putting myself in New Orleans. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 10/28/2011

    " Really, really loved this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 5/13/2011

    " I really like Welty but this one I didn't care for too much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 5/4/2011

    " I'm so glad Eudora Welty wrote books; I can't imagine a world without her voice in it. Such a wonderful book - the perfectly right one at the right time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leanne | 5/1/2011

    " I did not enjoy this book much. I mostly just hope that if my mom dies my father will remarry a woman his own age and not some "young thing" who will make life awful for everyone. I really don't know what exactly to say about this one. It was pretty ho-hum for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maria | 4/11/2011

    " Bad behavior in Mississippi. Characters not well-developed. Enjoyable but frustrating -- if a 2 and 1/2 rating existed I'd have given it that, perhaps, but this was pretty slight, imo. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 3/28/2011

    " Yet another well-written Pulitzer about death. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sue | 3/24/2011

    " I honestly didn't like this book. I didn't like the writing style and found the story hard to get into. It didn't seem like there was much of a story and, in the end, I really didn't care what happened to the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara | 3/24/2011

    " Three stars, but it's a fond three. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Julie | 3/23/2011

    " This book was a struggle to get through. The only reason I didn't ditch after page on is that it was a book club selection and I felt obligated. The characters were under-developed for a book with a minimal story line. I just didn't get it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 2/8/2011

    " I really wish Laurel would have clocked Fay with the breadboard. Ha! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/13/2011

    " I read this emotional book many years ago. Welty captures family loyalty and loss as she portrays Laurel's struggles in dealing with the death of her father and her conflict with his second wife. "

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About the Author
Author Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty’s (1909–2001) long list of memorable novels and short stories includes A Curtain of Green, The Wide Net, The Golden Apples, The Bride of Innisfallen, Delta Wedding, The Ponder Heart, and Losing Battles. In 1972 she was awarded the Pulitzer for Fiction for The Optimist’s Daughter and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction.